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How Can I Tell If My Liver Is Shrinking – Safe Liver Shrinking Before Bariatric Surgery

To make bariatric surgery easier for your surgeon, you must follow a strict pre-surgery diet to lose weight rapidly and shrink your liver.

If you fail to follow the liver shrinkage methods and your liver has not shrunk, the surgeon can call off surgery as unsafe. But how can I tell if my liver is shrinking?

A bariatric procedure is the first step toward a healthier life, but this cannot happen right away. Weight loss surgery requires mental, physical, and emotional preparation.

Let’s learn more about liver shrinking and bariatric surgery.

Table of Content

Is It Important to Shrink Your Liver Before Bariatric Surgery?

Through bariatric surgery, the stomach is cut to remove weight. So, not only does it reduce belly fat, but it also reduces hunger and BMI. Along with weight loss, it can reduce your risk of diabetes, high blood sugar, and high cholesterol as well.

To avoid complications, doctors recommend shrinking the liver before surgery.

Due to your sizeable fatty liver, it is difficult for the surgeon to operate on your stomach. Specifically, the liver’s left lobe rests above the belly. Thus, it’ll be tough for surgeons to move your liver and access your digestive tract.

Therefore, surgeons consider open instead of keyhole surgery. Indeed, open abdomen surgery is painful and requires more recovery time than keyhole surgery.

In addition, the liver could be damaged and start bleeding as a result of surgery and could also be injured in other ways. Also, this can increase the length of your surgery and the duration of your time under anesthesia.

How to Shrink the Liver Before Bariatric Surgery?

Weight loss can cause the liver to shrink. Therefore, consuming low-carb, low-fat foods and moderate amounts of protein helps reduce the size of the liver.

In general, dieticians or surgeons prescribed eating low-calorie meals (between 800/1200 calories) before surgery. Also, there is a particular liver shrinking diet plan you need to follow on the recommendation of a bariatric surgeon.

 Bariatric Surgeon give guidelines for liver shrinking before weight loss Surgery.

The shrinking liver diet is expected to reduce glucagon, fat, and water content in your liver, thus forcing your body to utilize its fat reversers. Indeed, this ensures your weight-loss surgery will go without a hitch.

Before your surgery, you typically have to stay on the liver shrink diet for 7 to 14 days.

The portions of liver shrinking diets are small, and you should make sure that your meals are balanced and varied. Generally, you’re allowed to

  • Milk
  • Protein
  • Fruit in two servings
  • Carbohydrates in three portions
  • Vegetables in three to five portions

Your nutritionist and bariatric surgeon can provide more specific information about portion size. In addition to shrinking your liver and thinning out your abdomen, this special pre-operative diet can help your surgeon perform laparoscopic surgery more comfortably and safely.

How Can I Tell if My Liver Is Shrinking?

Unfortunately, there are no apparent signs that your liver is shrinking. Putting your hand on your stomach won’t give you any feel for it. However, a CT scan can help, though. But, it is not recommended before a bariatric operation.

How Can I Tell If My Liver Is Shrinking

In contrast, the following indications will help you determine whether your liver is shrinking.

  1. Did you lose weight recently?
  2. Has your diet been consistent before bariatric surgery without cheating?

Your liver is likely shrinking if you answered both questions is YES! Since losing body fat dramatically burns fat around the organs, the same holds for the liver.

However, if you fail to follow your surgeon’s instructions regarding the pre-op diet, serious complications can result in canceling the surgery or damaging the liver during surgery.

What Happens if My Liver Doesn’t Shrink Before Bariatric Surgery?

You could suffer serious health consequences if your liver is not shrunk before bariatric surgery.

Most likely, you will not get the desired results after your surgery. Instead, you will suffer liver damage or difficulty during the procedure. Besides it, you can also gain weight after surgery, foamies, or leakage of stomach juices, etc.

Postponed/Cancelled Surgery

Before your procedure, your surgeon will ask you if you have lost weight or adhered to their instructions. If you don’t, the surgeon will probably cancel your surgery.

Even though a surgeon may choose to operate on you if you lose weight, the operation may be postponed if they find the liver too large to reach your stomach.

Damage to the Liver

Numerous organs surround the stomach, notably the liver’s left lobe, located over the abdomen. Thus, a bariatric surgeon will lift your liver during surgery to reach your stomach.

Due to this, the liver may be hurt, damaged, or even bleed during this procedure. So, it can result in liver dysfunction or infection.

Related: The Leaky Liver: Why We Can’t Control Blood Sugar

That’s why squeezing the liver before surgery is highly recommended.

Obstacles to Surgery

A more significant liver will make your surgery more challenging, as I mentioned earlier. It probably makes it hard to see the stomach or intestine during surgery. Moreover, it increases the surgery time as well.

What Can I Eat to Shrink Liver in 3 Days?

In a short period, a liver-shrinking diet plan can shrink the liver. Low-calorie diets usually contain very few calories, carbohydrates, and fats.

These low nutrients aid the liver in utilizing stored glycogen (a sugar found in muscles and the liver). As your glucagon levels drop, your liver also becomes more water-logged. It thus loses liver weight.

Bariatric surgery practices may differ in allowing or disallowing certain foods on a liver-shrinking diet. Also, pre-operative diet requirements vary according to the individual. Even though every course has its unique approach, most will emphasize consuming protein in sufficient amounts.

You can either use a ready-made liver shrinking diet or consult with a dietitian or bariatric surgeon.

Moreover, you can include these foods in your liver-shrinking diet.


Diet plan to shrink your liver primarily focuses on protein. It helps to improve the growth of tissues, organs, and muscles. Aside from that, it also speeds up the recovery process and fights infection. Listed below are a few sources of protein.

Protein Shakes That Can Be Used as a Meal Replacement

Animal-Based Protein Sources

  • One egg
  • Low-fat cottage cheese
  • Lean meat (beef, fish, pork)
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Fatty fish (sardines, tuna, salmon, mackerel, trout)

Plant-Based Sources of Protein

Fruits and Vegetables

  • Melon
  • Satsuma
  • Dried apricots
  • Pineapple
  • Dates
  • Kiwi
  • Plum
  • Non-starchy vegetables (bamboo shoots, beans, asparagus, carrots, beet etc.)

Besides, staying hydrated is also very important because it lubricates your organs and keeps you safe from illness. It’s best to drink plain water on this diet, to drink 64 ounces of it per day. Adding fresh fruit or cucumber to your drink will give it a delicious flavor.

Detox water helps in liver health by detoxification.
Detox water helps in liver health by detoxification.

As well as starting your supplement regimen, you should also make sure you are not deficient in key nutrients.

Food to Avoid Before Bariatric Surgery

Before bariatric surgery, stay away from these foods.

  • Fatty meat
  • Gelatin
  • Pasta
  • Bread products
  • Potatoes
  • Fried foods
  • Broth
  • Sugary desserts
  • High-sugar beverages
  • Whole milk products
  • Carbonated drinks
  • Bakery items

Before your surgery, do not eat or drink anything after midnight. It is okay to take anesthesia-approved medications with a sip of water if necessary.

Which Foods Can’t Be Eaten After Bariatric Surgery?

An after-surgery diet must be healthy and nutritional. Keeping your diet on track can ensure that you will lose weight and avoid other complications in the future.

Following is a list of foods that you shouldn’t consume after surgery.

  • Sugary and carbonated drinks (cola, carbonated wine, sparkling water)
  • Rice, Pasta, and bread products
  • Winter squash, peas, corn, and potatoes
  • Zero-calorie foods (chips, brownies, candy, popcorn, sweets)
  • Alcohol (stay away from for six months following surgery)
  • Caffeine (don’t consume for a month after your surgery)


What Is the Fastest Way to Shrink Your Liver?

A liver-shrinking diet with a workout is the safest and fastest way to shrink your liver without side effects. Furthermore, studies have shown that performing strenuous exercise several times a week can significantly reduce the fat stored in the liver. Regardless of whether you lose weight or not.

How Do You Shrink a Fatty Liver?

Fatty liver is a condition in which unwanted fat builds up in the liver. You can shrink it safely with low-caloric food and a healthy lifestyle. Moreover, cutting back on sugar, caffeine, and alcohol also helps. Losing weight and being physically active is also an effective method to reduce weight.

What Happens if I Cheat On the Liver Shrinking Diet?

Suppose you eat while on a liver-shrinking diet, you can’t effectively prepare for the surgery. It means you are not mentally and emotionally prepared for surgery.

Cheating during post-surgery diets can be dangerous to your health and result in potentially life-threatening complications. Your surgeon should know if you have cheated on the diet before surgery.

How Can I Tell if My Liver Is Shrinking?

If you strictly follow the liver shrinking diet and bariatric surgeon recommendations and lose weight, you have indeed lost fat in your liver. Therefore, it is safe to assume that my liver has shrunk.

How Much Weight Can You Lose on the Liver Shrinking Diet?

Losing weight with the liver shrinking diet is adequate. You can certainly lose 5-10 pounds before surgery. Typically, you are allowed 800 to 1000 calories a day on this diet. If you follow the liver shrinkage diet, you will most likely lose a great deal of weight, but it will mostly come from water loss.

Can You Eat Eggs on a Liver Shrinking Diet?

Eggs are safe to eat as part of a liver shrinking diet. However, you can take one egg per day. Additionally, you should eat lean meats, vegetables, seafood, and fruit, as well as a moderate amount of high-fiber grains.

Is Bariatric Surgery Safe?

Undoubtedly, many surgeries cause some risks to the human body, but bariatric surgery is considered one of the safest surgeries you can undergo. It has more benefits than side effects. Indeed, gastric bending is the safest way to lose weight.

Does My Liver Still Grow After Bariatric Surgery?

Yes, your liver may regain fat after bariatric surgery. In case you consume more calories and carbs, then recommendation. But this will not have any effect.

At Long Last, on How Can I Tell if My Liver Is Shrinking

Indeed, liver shrinkage is an internal process that cannot be detected or even felt until an internal examination or surgery. However, if you follow a strict diet plan, you can finally lose liver fat through weight loss.

Aside from losing liver weight, bariatric surgery also requires intense physical and mental immunity to succeed. In the end, you will see incredible results and enhance your health by maintaining a healthy weight, thanks to this procedure. Therefore, remember to stay relaxed, calm, and confident on your surgery day!

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